Four Mustangs named first team all-league

editorial@sierrastar.comDecember 10, 2013 

Four Minarets football players have received West Sequoia League first team All-League honors — running back Mitch Pritchett, linebacker Jackson Soares, defensive back Sam Reyes, and lineman Daniel Lynch. Receiving second team honors were quarterback Keenan Reardon and running back Zak Clayton.

The announcement was made at the team's fourth annual awards banquet.

Team awards were presented to top Mustang players including quarterback Reardon (MVP), Pritchett (Best Offensive Player), Mason Ellis (Best Defensive Player), Chance Carter (Best Special Teams Player), and Soares (Captain award). The senior linebacker called the defense and never left the field, also playing tight-end. He was the team's long snapper.

All the recipients are seniors with the exception of Ellis, who is a sophomore.

Carter will long remember being carried off the field Nov. 8 after the Mustangs final game of the season, after making a last second 31-yard field goal to give the Mustangs a 31-29 win over Laton.

The Coaches Award was given to Cory Gibson, Matt Koen, and Lynch, all seniors. Reyes was awarded the Mustang Award given to the player that best demonstrates what coach Bob Kelly would like all his players to strive to be — hard working, dedicated, and an impact player.

Foundation awards went to assistant coaches Darren Soares and Pete Reardon.

The Mustangs had their best season as the youngest football program in the valley. Kelly's team went 3-7 overall and 1-3 in league on the year. The team lost three close games during the season, including a battle with league champion Farmersville and a one point loss to Parlier. The Mustangs averaged 180 yards on the ground while scoring 32 touchdowns, primarily from its running game. The team had only 10 turnovers on the season, six interceptions and four fumbles.

The evening started with Kelly thanking all the programs sponsors, including Ponderosa Telephone which supplied the team with head sets this past season and contributed heavily to the Mustangs youth program.

Principle Mike Niehoff spoke of sponsorship for the new artificial turf that will be in place for next season on the still to be built stadium grounds. Yosemite residence, Paul and Lisa Blankenship, catered the tri-tip awards dinner. The Blankenships 6-foot-5, 270 pound son is a lineman for the Mustangs and drove down from Yosemite everyday for practice during the season.

Thanks to funding from an anonymous donor, the Blankenships catered pre-game meals for every home game as well as Saturday breakfast for the team during the season. The same donor provided dinner for the Mustangs at Brooks Ranch throughout the season when the team traveled.

The Mustangs JV program, coached by Bob Tovar went 6-4 on the season and gave coach Kelly much to look forward to.

Team awards went to running back Luke Tovar (MVP), Sam Smith (Outstanding Defensive Player), Luke Pritchett (Outstanding Offense Player), Logan Christian (Outstanding Lineman), and Jeremiah Benzie (Hustle Award).

Christian Low received the Big Play Award, and Jacob Walker received the teams Hammer Award.

Tovar scored 18 touchdowns on the season before being lost to injury.

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